I've faced domain name issues before but this is a new one on me.
So, I went to the .ca version of my site and there's a link to write to the owner so I wrote asking to buy the domain name off him. He said he's not interested in the domain any more because he ran out of money to create the business for it so he offered a price.
The price is way over the top (of course) and I don't want it that much but I'm concerned that the content on the page is all related to my own content (and I don't just mean contextual ads - this page has been specifically created with photos etc.) so I asked him to remove it. He said the domain is simply parked and that the current content is out of his control, suggesting that I should speak to the hosting company.
Who is responsible for the content under these circumstances? Any ideas?
If it is a bad faith registration under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDNDRP) then you'll need to file against the domain name registrant. According to the UDNDRP, "The policy is between the registrar (or other registration authority in the case of a country-code top-level domain) and its customer (the domain-name holder or registrant)."
If it is not a bad faith registration, and they are revealing personally-identifying information or images, then you might be able to pursue them in civil court. If that's the case, it's possible that the web host will remove the domain if you tell them that you're going to sue both the domain owner *and* the web host. I'm not sure if it would work but it's worth a try.
I don't know the lowest cost for domain name dispute resolution, but it will be more than a few hundred dollars. If they offered it to you for a lot less than you can get it resolved legally, then I would probably take that route.
Thanks Tim. The registration may well have been in good faith. It is the advertising content displayed whilst the domain is parked which is the cause of concern. Here is the registrar's comment on that:
"There is cost involved with hosting an 'under construction' page and this cost we need to recover through either advertising or charging for it. Free parking in exchange of use of ad space is considered the gold standard in the registrar industry with the majority of registrars subscribing to that."